Banking on network capability

city view African Review of Business and TechnologyLiquid Telecom Kenya has worked with Barclays, connecting branches in Nairobi with free Wi-Fi, to improve customer experience.The banking and finance sector is increasingly looking towards network partners such as Liquid Telecom to not only deliver connectivity, but to help drive innovation across their operations. Shouldn’t your business too?

The banking and finance sector has always had to act fast to keep up with the everchanging demands of its customers.

After all, its customers are entrusting them with their financial future. The very least they can expect in return is a reliable, efficient and secure banking service, available anywhere and on any device they choose.

In Africa, the banking and sector is having to act even faster to keep up with more dramatic changes in customer demand.

Some five years ago, mobile banking exploded across parts of Africa in a way previously unseen by the world. The region now has the highest levels of mobile money penetration in the world, which has seriously disrupted traditional banking models.

International and local banks operating across the region have got smart. They’ve been exploring how to overcome some of the infrastructure limitations posed by the vast region, while at the same time tapping into advancements in technology.

Strategies that all businesses in Africa can learn from. 

Banking the unbanked

One of the reasons mobile banking proved to be so successful in parts of Africa is that it surpasses the limitations of physical infrastructure. Access to commercial bank branches and ATMs in Africa is proportionally far lower than global averages.

This is changing as global banks and large pan-African banks make their mark further on the region.

But how do they extend their reach to underserved areas when the cost of deployment is high and the population density is low?

Choosing a network partner with scale is a must. The absence of critical ICT infrastructure in rural areas can have costly implications for regional banking institutions.

Satellite has emerged as a cost effective and versatile solution for banks, enabling them to establish reliable links for ATMs and point-ofsell devices. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), for example, has one of the largest banking networks across East Africa, and, thanks to Liquid Telcom Kenya, was able to successfully connect 24 of its branches in South Sudan using VSAT technology – allowing for faster and more efficient banking services for its South Sudanese customers.

A competitive advantage

Recognising that increasing the physical reach of their services across Africa will not be enough, forward-thinking organisations are also exploring innovative ways to use technology to gain a competitive advantage.

This has been taking a variety of forms. For some banks, it can be about improving service levels to a specific type of customer.

For instance, video conferencing can enable higher-value customers to directly interact with financial advisors as they would do in a branch. Integrated with online banking services, this creates a very powerful customer experience proposition.

Or it might be more about building brand awareness in a particular field. Security and data privacy, for instance, are issues that weigh more heavily on the minds of today’s customers.

By demonstrating that it follows best practices and leverages the most advanced technologies, a bank can build customer trust and confidence. Liquid Telecom’s CrashPlan service, for example, can ensure that a bank has all its data securely backed up to the cloud, demonstrating to its customers that it has a contingency plan.

Or it might be more about discovering clever, subtle touches to enhance the overall customer experience. For example, Barclays recently became the first bank in Kenya to offer its customers free Wi-Fi in its branches. In partnership with Liquid Telecom Kenya, Barclays connected 10 branches in Nairobi with free Wi-Fi, helping to improve overall customer experience as well as introduce them to the benefits of online banking. Liquid Telecom Kenya set up a dedicated Wi-Fi network - totally independent from the bank’s internal network - in order to mitigate any potential security risk. The positively received move is a good example of customer service differentiation, and will be rolled out to more branches across Kenya.

The banking sector has recognised that high-cost branches cannot survive in their traditional form in Africa and it is responding to that challenge. Greater network capability and use of innovative technology is at the heart of that business transformation - is that the case at your business too?

T

he banking and finance sector

has always had to act fast to

keep up with the everchanging

demands of its customers.

After all, its customers are

entrusting them with their financial

future. The very least they can

expect in return is a reliable,

efficient and secure banking service,

available anywhere and on any

device they choose.

In Africa, the banking and sector

is having to act even faster to keep

up with more dramatic changes in

customer demand.

Some five years ago, mobile

banking exploded across parts of

Africa in a way previously unseen by

the world. The region now has the

highest levels of mobile money

penetration in the world, which has

seriously disrupted traditional

banking models.

International and local banks

operating across the region have got

smart. They’ve been exploring how

to overcome some of the

infrastructure limitations posed by

the vast region, while at the same

time tapping into advancements

in technology.

Strategies that all businesses in

Africa can learn from.

Banking the unbanked

One of the reasons mobile banking

proved to be so successful in parts of

Africa is that it surpasses the

limitations of physical

infrastructure. Access to commercial

bank branches and ATMs in Africa

is proportionally far lower than

global averages.

This is changing as global banks

and large pan-African banks make

their mark further on the region.

But how do they extend their reach

to underserved areas when the cost

of deployment is high and the

population density is low?

Choosing a network partner with

scale is a must. The absence of

critical ICT infrastructure in rural

areas can have costly implications

for regional banking institutions.

Satellite has emerged as a cost

effective and versatile solution for

banks, enabling them to establish

reliable links for ATMs and point-ofsell

devices. Kenya Commercial Bank

(KCB), for example, has one of the

largest banking networks across East

Africa, and, thanks to Liquid Telcom

Kenya, was able to successfully

connect 24 of its branches in South

Sudan using VSAT technology –

allowing for faster and more

efficient banking services for its

South Sudanese customers.

A competitive advantage

Recognising that increasing the

physical reach of their services

across Africa will not be enough,

forward-thinking organisations are

also exploring innovative ways

to use technology to gain a

competitive advantage.

This has been taking a variety of

forms. For some banks, it can be

about improving service levels to a

specific type of customer.

For instance, video conferencing

can enable higher-value customers

to directly interact with financial

advisors as they would do in a

branch. Integrated with online

banking services, this creates a

very powerful customer

experience proposition.

Or it might be more about

building brand awareness in a

particular field. Security and data

privacy, for instance, are issues that

weigh more heavily on the minds of

today’s customers.

By demonstrating that it follows

best practices and leverages the

most advanced technologies, a bank

can build customer trust and

confidence. Liquid Telecom’s

CrashPlan service, for example, can

ensure that a bank has all its data

securely backed up to the cloud,

demonstrating to its customers that

it has a contingency plan.

Or it might be more about

discovering clever, subtle touches to

enhance the overall customer

experience. For example, Barclays

recently became the first bank in

Kenya to offer its customers free WiFi

in its branches. In partnership

with Liquid Telecom Kenya,

Barclays connected 10 branches in

Nairobi with free Wi-Fi, helping to

improve overall customer

experience as well as introduce

them to the benefits of online

banking. Liquid Telecom Kenya set

up a dedicated Wi-Fi network -

totally independent from the bank’s

internal network - in order to

mitigate any potential security risk.

The positively received move is a

good example of customer service

differentiation, and will be rolled

out to more branches across Kenya.

The banking sector has

recognised that high-cost branches

cannot survive in their traditional

form in Africa and it is responding

to that challenge. Greater network

capability and use of innovative

technology is at the heart of that

business transformation - is that the

case at your business too?

 

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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